Billy Ray Cyrus Interview Part II: Star Continues to Count His Blessings After 20 Years of Making Music
Have you had the chance to play many of these songs live yet?
You know, I’m not in the midst of a tour. I just finished a movie here in Nashville. We just shot a pilot that I’ve got a really good feeling about. You probably know, I’ve been trying to bring a series to middle Tennessee since I did my first series, ‘Doc,’ up in Canada. I actually tried to bring that one here and got pretty close. I was able to bring the ‘Hannah Montana’ movie to Middle Tennessee and get that filmed here. There’s a project called ‘Still the King.’ It’s a comedy. It’s pretty dang funny.
That’s been one of my hopes for this year — that I’ll be able to make this pilot — and we got it in just in the nick of time because, I leave tomorrow morning for New York to do the Broadway play of ‘Chicago.’ We got that in, so we’ll see where it lands. I feel like there’s some strong potential there to bring some significant, steady work to middle Tennessee. The film industry here has got the manpower, the knowledge, the capability and the technology to be extremely competitive with any market around the world… to go into production. I’m really in hopes. That’s kind of one my goals that’s on the front burner is to bring this here.
How do you ever find time for anything that is just for you? You’re making albums, doing Broadway, shooting movies…
Luckily, I love what I’m doing. This is my art. I’m a painter, and I get to paint. I like to paint a lot of different things and paint with a lot of different colors. I get to do that artistically as a singer and a songwriter, first and foremost. That’s what I was born to do. The rest of this stuff just kind of happened, one accident at a time.
You mentioned that you’re getting ready to head to Broadway for ‘Chicago.’ Are you feeling nervous?
I’m excited about it. I love the music and I love flying without a net, knowing that the show is live every single night with a live audience. It’s always good to try and learn something new and always be evolving. For me being an actor and a singer-songwriter, it’s exciting, yet I’ve had to put a lot of preparations into this [laughs]! I’ve been studying this thing for months. It’s showtime, so let’s strap it on… go catch our flight and go get busy.
Reflect on the past 20 years of your life with all that you have been doing in music, movies and everything else. How have you evolved as a man, as a father, as a husband and as an entertainer?
You know what, you just hit the nail on the head. It is an evolution of life, day by day and step by step. I put my pants on the same way everybody else does — one leg at a time. You go through life and you do the best that you can do. You try to stay focused and do what you love because you love doing it, not because you have to. That’s the main thing. Do what you do because you love it. Luckily I do what I do because I love it. I love playing music, I love being in a band, I’ve loved being a daddy and being a part of this crazy ride that me and Miley went on.
I think of the song ‘Ready, Set, Don’t Go.’ I’m walking on the driveway right now where the song first came to me. I called my buddy, Casey Beathard. He came over here to my house and within 10 minutes, me and him had written us a hit song there. That was a moment of art imitating life, imitating art. That’s how it happens. That’s what this album is. It’s a snapshot of my life, where it’s been, where it’s at and where it’s going.
My goal was to always make music and have my music be heard around the world. I prayed that God would give me the wisdom and the vision to fulfill my purpose through that music. It’s odd… I am an old man now. I’m one of the guys who’s been around in this town for years. To be the “old guy” is humbling, especially when you look in the mirror and go wow – I’ve turned into the old guy! But at the same time, I count my blessings. I’m in the business. I love what I’m doing and I’m right in the middle of it. I’m making records and I love doing that. I love the artistic value of that. I love film, I love acting… I’m leaving tomorrow morning for Broadway. It’s crazy! It’s absolutely crazy. I’m just a boy from Flatwoods, Ky., but it’s good to be reminded where all things that are good come from: Almighty God. I’m very thankful and feel very blessed to be doing what I love.